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Cry for regional bench of Supreme Court in Chennai grows
The long-pending demand of the legal fraternity to set up the regional benches of the Supreme Court has again gained momentum as senior counsels, members of Parliament (MPs) and activists take up the difficulties of the poor in approaching the corridors of the apex court
DMK MP and senior counsel P Wilson recently raised the issue in Rajya Sabha demanding SC benches in Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Speaking to DT Next, Wilson said access to Supreme Court is restricted only to those with the economic means to travel to New Delhi and afford a lawyer in the capital.
“Access to justice is enshrined under our Constitution. Its framers consider this right sacrosanct that they enacted it under Article 32; direct access to the highest court of the land to enforce the fundamental right. However, the poor are unable to come to the SC and they litigate only up to High Court level,” Wilson said.
He explained that presently, there are only 34 judges with the SC for 130 crores of citizens and the establishment of benches would add more strength to the SC.
“The parliamentary standing committee, in 2004, 2005, and 2006, recommended the formation of the regional benches. Even the Law Commission of India, in its report dated August 5, suggested the same,” said the senior counsel who has also submitted a memorandum regarding this to Union Law Minister Kirren Rijju.
Wilson pointed out that many adjournments in the SC are due to the non-availability of litigants/counsels who have to come from far away. “According to Article 130, the Chief Justice of India has the power to establish the benches of the SC in several places,” Wilson noted.
Madras HC advocate and AIADMK’s legal wing deputy secretary RM Babu Murugavel also raised the demand.
“The Constitutional bench of SC can continue in Delhi. However, for others including the special leave petition, criminal revision petition, regional benches should be formed. It would help financially unsound litigants. Also, more advocates will get an opportunity to argue before the SC,” Murugavel said.